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Afghanistan foreign troop deaths in June exceed those in Iraq

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  • NEW: NATO, Afghan force attacked from across Pakistan border; no casualties
  • NATO, coalition deaths reflect Taliban spring offensive, Iraq progress
  • Thirty-two troops have died in Afghanistan during June, 19 in Iraq
  • Five troops died Saturday in two separate roadside attacks in Afghanistan
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(CNN) -- Five foreign troops were killed Saturday in Afghanistan, bringing the number of NATO and U.S.-led coalition troop deaths in June to 32 -- more than in Iraq.

A French NATO soldier stands guard in the Arghandab district of Afghanistan's Kandahar province on Friday.

A French NATO soldier stands guard in the Arghandab district of Afghanistan's Kandahar province on Friday.

Foreign troop deaths in the Afghan war have been exceeding those in the Iraq conflict in recent weeks, according to figures compiled by CNN.

The trend reflects a surge in attacks and clashes during the warmer months in Afghanistan, where U.S.- and NATO-led troops have been fighting tenacious Taliban militants. It also points to a decrease in violence in Iraq.

Four service members assigned to the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan were killed Saturday by a roadside bomb and small-arms fire on a Task Force Phoenix convoy, said Lt. Col. Paul Fanning, spokesman for the U.S. military.

The convoy was on a mission to train Afghan national police and soldiers when it was attacked, Fanning said. About three dozen nations have committed troops to that training effort, which includes more than 700 training teams and 8,000 trainers across Afghanistan.

Two other troops were seriously wounded in the attack. Video Watch journalists break out their flak jackets »

Also early Saturday, a Polish soldier assigned to NATO's International Security Assistance Force was killed and four others were wounded by a roadside bomb while on patrol in the Dila district of Afghanistan's Paktika province, the assistance force said.

Later Saturday, a NATO-led base and an Afghan military compound were attacked from across the border in Pakistan, the assistance force said. There were no reported casualties in the incident at 5:15 p.m. The Pakistan military was notified.

At least 32 troops assigned to the U.S.-led coalition and NATO's International Security Assistance Force have died in Afghanistan in June.

At least 12 Americans, nine Britons, two Canadians, one Pole, a Romanian and a Hungarian have died in Afghanistan in June. The nationalities of six other fatalities have not been released.

In comparison, 19 coalition troops have died in June so far in Iraq, comprising 18 Americans and one from the Republic of Georgia. There are no NATO troops in Iraq.

Aggressive military campaigns against Sunni and Shiite militants have helped reduce casualties in Iraq, as have efforts to bring Sunni militants into U.S.-backed militias and the cease-fire of the mainstream part of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi army.

During May, 23 coalition troops died in Afghanistan and 21 died in Iraq.

The deaths last month in Afghanistan included 17 Americans, three Britons, a Canadian, a Lithuanian and an Estonian. In Iraq, there were 19 American and two Georgian deaths last month. The 19 American deaths in May represent the lowest monthly American total of the war.

Overall, the Iraq conflict has been the deadlier war for foreign troops.

More than 4,400 foreign troops have died in the Iraq war; more than 800 have died in Afghanistan. In both wars, the vast majority of fatalities are Americans.

"It's a difficult time right now, but it's an extremely dangerous job," Fanning said after Saturday's attacks in southern Afghanistan's Kandahar province. "This is a combat theater. This is why we're here. The enemy's doing their best to thwart the progress we've made, but we're determined not to let them succeed."

Much of the fighting has occurred across southern Afghanistan, where Taliban attacks tend to increase as the weather warms up.

Afghan and NATO forces last week pushed Taliban militants out of several villages in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province after a huge prison break on June 13, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said.

The Afghan Ministry of Defense said 56 Taliban fighters had been killed in the operation. Officials said they had no firm figures on the number wounded.

There is fighting in other parts of the country as well.

The U.S.-led coalition said its forces on Saturday conducted precision airstrikes in Khost province targeting a Taliban commander involved with roadside bombings, foreign fighter operations and weapons smuggling.

Khost is in the eastern part of the country.


In the northeastern province of Kapisa, a coalition operation led to the deaths of several militants and the detention of three others on Friday, the coalition said Saturday.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force on Saturday also reported the deaths of several militants in fighting Thursday in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in the south.

All About AfghanistanIraq WarKandahar ProvinceThe Taliban

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